Armstrong "Sets" Up Player Success

LYNDON - For Erik Armstrong, interest for the sport of volleyball started in his teenage years. Since he was 16, he has been a part of two independent volleyball leagues in St. Johnsbury and in East Burke respectively.  “I have [been able to get] quite the experience playing two or three times a week for the past 20 years or so.”

Prior to being the current assistant coach of Lyndon State’s Volleyball team, Armstrong’s father was the assistant coach, and his sister was a freshman on the team at the time. Erik had experience being Lyndon Institute’s assistant volleyball coach as well. He says the only difference between college and high school volleyball is the fan base. More parents attend the high school games, while there are more students that attend college games. However, the level of competitiveness and spirit is similar. “It’s an exciting opportunity to teach what I know to players that share a passion for a game… all the players that I’ve worked with are fun to be around a couple of hours for ten weeks [out of the year],” Armstrong said.

New England was the last region, with Vermont being the last of the 50 United States to have varsity volleyball in college and high school athletics programs. Armstrong met a man by the name of Sean Fisher through volleyball. Fisher, the current head coach of Lyndon State’s team, is an alumnus of Lyndon’s Men’s Cross Country team. Fisher was also a part of the then known LSC Volleyball Club. Armstrong says that Fisher “shares same attitude with [the sport] that he does.”    

When he is not on the court, he works with the family run Armstrong Masonry Business. A fourth generation mason, Erik likes working and coaching during the week, but acknowledges there has to be time management involved. “[It] is a challenge everyday; it’s never going to be completely balanced,” Armstrong said.

The passion for volleyball spreads it way from the coaches to past and present players. Laura Drake, who graduated from Lyndon in 2015, spent all four years playing volleyball under Armstrong and Fisher.  “As a player, I knew that I could trust his opinion and could ask for advice on and could ask for advice on and off the court… I couldn’t imagine my 4 years playing for Lyndon without him,” Drake said. One thrill Armstrong gets out of coaching is seeing “athletes accomplishing something that they hadn’t done before or never thought they could do.”

I asked Armstrong if there was anything that could be added to the conversation to make this story worth something. He left me with this, “There are situations that are tougher than others, but there is always a finish line in sight and you have to stay optimistic and tackle every challenge in sight.”

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